Stuart Berger is a 27-year-old New York psychiatrist who was fighting the system right from residency. At Bellevue, where he believed that cases were being sedated more than treated, he declared: "It was me and the patients against psychiatry." If that sounds like young Dr. Berger is an effective self-dramatist, well, Paramount has already acquired film rights to his life story for $25,000 plus a percentage. The movie, he says, will be "sort of a cross between One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest and Hospital." A 6'6" bear for work, Berger puts in a 16-hour day in private practice and at Project Return, a publicly funded drug-abuse center where he's medical director (below with patients Darryl Parker and Sylvia Alicia). He has been an adjunct professor at New York Law School and is writing a book, Your Child and Divorce. Berger grew up in Brooklyn, where his parents still run a candy store. "In my neighborhood," he jokes, "you had three choices: Become a doctor or a lawyer—or commit suicide." He graduated from Harvard summa at 20 and four years later earned an M.D. and an M.S. in public health through a joint program at Harvard and Tufts. To spread mental health information beyond its present constituency—"only the very rich and the severely impaired," he complains—Berger is a regular on the local talk-show circuit. "But I don't want to be another Joyce Brothers," he contends. "What my profession desperately needs is a Ralph Nader."
Heather Parisi was a sales clerk at Macy's in Sacramento, Calif. two summers ago and couldn't speak a word of Italian. Today, at 20, she is one of the hottest entertainers in Italy. She was a star dancer last season on the variety-game show Fantastico, a fixture of Italy's RAI network. Her hit single, Disco Bambina, topped the Italian charts, and she is now touring the country with her stage act, called lo, lo, lo e Voi ("Me, Me, Me and All of You"). The daughter of former ballerina Anita Parisi Bowers, Heather took her first dance lesson in Sacramento at 2½. As a teenager, she studied and performed with the San Francisco Ballet. But, fed up with small roles, she gave up dance except for local disco contests. Then, on a European vacation in 1978 Heather discoed at Jackie O's in Rome and was spotted by the wife of choreographer Franco Miseria, who persuaded her skeptical spouse to take an interest. And take an interest he did, first offering her the part on Fantastico, and then leaving Signora Miseria for his long-legged protégée. Such shenanigans do not sit well with the Christian Democratic party, which runs the RAI TV network, and Parisi is not in RAI's fall lineup. Still, Heather figures that after another four years of Italy, intense acting training and a film there, she'll be ready to make her move on the States. Her intention, she says, is to be nothing less than "No. 1 in all the world."
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